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Science

'Stock Show Weather' a misnomer

January 9, 2009

Forget "stock show weather:" There aren't that many really cold days during the National Western Stock Show, says Nolan Doesken, Colorado State University's state climatologist.

Analysis over 60 years

Doesken's analysis of daily temperature averages during the past 60 years show that 76 percent of the days between Jan. 10 and 25 have daytime high temperatures of 36 degrees or higher.

Only 9 percent of the NWSS days have experienced daytime high temperatures of 25 degrees or cooler. And only 3 percent fall into the bitterly cold category - with daytime high temperatures of 15 degrees or less.

Doesken analyzed National Weather Service temperatures taken between Jan. 10 and 25 at the former Stapleton airport site between 1948 and 2008.

Rare snowfall

About 8 percent of the days had snowfall of 1 inch or greater; 81 percent had no snow at all. Still, it's cold enough for the snow to stick around - 45 percent of the days during the stock show have at least 1 inch of snow lingering on the ground, Doesken said.

"Climatologically speaking, the stock show doesn't get that cold," Doesken said. "But for most people, cold is a relative term."

Doesken said in any given mid-January period of two consecutive weeks, Denver usually experiences at least one strong cold front, a few cold days and a little snow.


Contact: Emily Wilmsen
E-mail: Emily.Wilmsen@colostate.edu
Phone: (970) 491-2336